TalonP PCP air pistol from AirForce: Part 5

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4


TalonP air pistol from AirForce is a powerful, new .25-caliber pneumatic hunter.

I had a perfect, wind-free day at the range for this report, and as a result I learned several very interesting things about the TalonP air pistol. There’s no substitute for a calm day when you’re trying to figure things out for an airgun.

The target was set 50 yards away, and I shot off a bag rest. I promised to show you how I hold the pistol when the shoulder stock extension is attached and I will, but John McCaslin of AirForce told me of a much better way to set up the gun. Since I didn’t try that this time, I’ll just show you how I held it for this test.


The butt is on my shoulder, which allows my cheek to touch the rear of the reservoir. My left hand is under the pistol grip for fine elevation adjustments. The bag I’m using is a large bunny bag (a sandbag that has “ears”) filled with crushed walnut shells that are as dense as sand but weigh only half as much.

This hold was stable, but I can see how the one John suggested will be even better, so I will show that next time. I have nothing but praise for the Hawke scope that is so clear I can see the pellets as they fly to the target. I think we need to add this scope to our stable of equipment, Edith.

I started this test shooting the JSB Exact Kings that were so accurate in the last test. They were still on the money — even better than before — but the calm day allowed me to see a dynamic I hadn’t see last time. The TalonP pistol can shoot a great five-shot group, but if you try for more shots, the pellets start to wander.

A new dynamic
As you know, I like to shoot 10-shot groups to demonstrate the accuracy of airguns. There are exceptions to that, of course. I won’t shoot 10 from a 10-meter gun because 5 shows all that I need to see. A big bore will also get 5 shots instead of 10, because there aren’t ten good shots in the reservoir. Well, that holds true for the TalonP, too.

I shot many groups that were astounding on this day, but only when they were 5-shot groups. When I tried to stretch them to 10, they always opened up. Before I get to that, though, I also discovered that this pistol doesn’t need a 3,000 psi fill when it’s shot on power setting eight.

If I filled all the way to 3,000 psi, the first shots were lower-powered. They would walk up the target in sequence until the gun came into the power curve, which was around 2,700 psi for this pellet on power setting eight at 50 yards. Then I always got an astounding 5-shot group. And then the pellets started wandering once again. Before I go any farther, look at a couple of these groups.


The larger hole to the right of the dime is four JSB King pellets at 50 yards. Shot five made the hole underneath the first group. But shots six and seven are above the dime and to the left. Those four tight shots represent the tightest group of shots I’ve ever made with an airgun at 50 yards. The group measures 0.159 inches and the 5-shot group measures 0.524 inches.


This group of 10 Benjamin domed pellets starts with a tight group of 5 at the left. The next five pellets walk to the right. The group of 5 measures 0.352 inches between centers.

Kevin suggested that I also test the Benjamin domes and Beeman Kodiaks. I found the Benjamin domes to be equally accurate in the pistol as the JSB Exact Kings, which is surprising because in an earlier test at 25 yards they were not as good.

The Beeman Kodiaks were not good in the pistol at any power level I tried, though I didn’t spend as much time with them as I did with the JSBs and Benjamins. In fact, I ran out of JSB pellets and had to order more to complete this test.

Some experimenting
I have said in the past that none of us have enough life left to throughly test even one AirForce airgun. The adjustable power, plus the ability to control the fill pressure, gives you an infinite variety of things to test with every good pellet you find. However, I do have an advantage, in that I used to work at AirForce and have tested hundreds of guns and thousands of valves during manufacture. So, I know a couple helpful things. Here’s one of them.

Sometimes, there’s a second power band located outside what you think of as the normal pressure curve. With a PCP gun that has a 3,000 psi fill limit, I find the bottom of the power curve is somewhere around 2,200 to as low as 2,000 psi. That’s for any gun — not just one made by AirForce. Of course, the AirForce guns have adjustable power, so you can do things — in that outside part of the fill curve — that aren’t possible with other PCPs.

I haven’t yet completed this test, but I just wanted to know if there might be another power curve below the normal pressure curve, so I kept on shooting JSB pellets with the gun set at power setting eight. As I did, the gun suddenly started to bellow a deep flat roar with every shot. I knew from past experience that this was what I was looking for. In fact, the pistol became so loud that I thought the end cap had fallen off, but it hadn’t. It was just the sound of the valve remaining open an extra long time and letting out a large volume of lower-pressure air. I didn’t get any good groups at this level; but with some lowering of the power setting, that might be possible. When I finished about an additional eight shots, the gun was down to 1,500 psi, which is way outside the normal curve.

On the TalonP, I find the best curve so far with the most accurate pellets to be between 2,700 psi and 2,200 psi. However, since I was trying to shoot 10-shot groups, the lower number isn’t correct, either. I didn’t have time to find out what the real lower limit was, exactly. The one time I checked it seemed to be around 2,550 psi, but that’s too rough to go by. Besides, it’ll be a different number on each different pressure gauge you use, so the number doesn’t really matter that much. You’ll have to find the number on your own fill gauge. If you do what I do in this test, you’ll find everything you need.

A big point
I’d like to stop here and mention that at no time have I brought a chronograph into today’s test. I did chrono the gun some back in Part 3, but that was before I knew how well it was going to perform at distance. Since there’s so much to do, I decided to set the chronograph aside until I find the best performance at 50 yards, then I’ll chrono just that. For those who own PCP guns but don’t yet own chronographs, this is something you should think about. It doesn’t matter how fast the pellets are going if they aren’t hitting anything, so find your most accurate pellets first and then chronograph them.

Something else
Knowing that the gun grouped 5 shots very tight with these two pellets, I tried a couple times to find the exact fill point for stopping to shoot 5 good shots. I could then shoot my 5 and refill for 5 more good shots. The ideal stopping point is located somewhere below 2,700 psi when the gun is set on power setting eight and shooting JSB Exact Kings or Benjamin domes, but I didn’t find the exact spot yet. When I shot the groups shown above, I had to shoot the first couple shots at a different target until the shots stabilized. Therefore, the number of good shots is greater than 5, since at least one shot and perhaps two were thrown away as I let the gun climb into the power curve.

I also tried shooting all the pellets, including Kodiaks, at power settings nine, ten and six. Those settings were not as good as setting eight when I filled to 2,700 psi.


This is the TalonP power adjuster I mention in the report. It appears to be set just under eight, as indicated by the center of the hex screw in the oval window. Forget the numbers on the wheel. Until you find the right setting in the oval window, they will just confuse you, and they aren’t that precise.

What’s next?
I now know the two best pellets for this gun. I have a rough idea of where the optimum power curve is located, so I won’t have to hunt for it as much next time. Also, John McCaslin has shown me a better way to mount my scope so I get a more positive spot weld (locating the cheek at exactly the same place every time so the maximum parallax is cancelled), and that may help me shoot the TalonP even better.

Here’s what I know so far. This “pistol” is the most accurate .25-caliber airgun I have yet tested. And I have one 50-yard group that’s the best I’ve shot to date with any airgun. That old one was five shots from a SCAN at 40 yards. There’s a heck of a lot of potential here. I can’t wait to get back to the range to try out all this new stuff!

55 thoughts on “TalonP PCP air pistol from AirForce: Part 5

  1. I have a hard time grasping how you can possibly bring yourself to even get out of bed in the morning, knowing that you will have to do something like this with your day. And to have to do this day in and day out. Your intestinal fortitude is astounding. I for one would not be able to deal with it. I would have to find something else to do with my life. Perhaps find a job digging up busted sewer lines?


  2. I do not see how you can possibly stand to get out of bed each morning, knowing that something like this will face you that day. To do this day in and day out, your intestinal fortitude is astounding! I would have to find something else to do with my time, perhaps dig up busted sewer lines.


  3. B.B.

    I can see a couple neat things to try with the TalonP.

    Let’s say AF was to hand you a regular Talon or Condor tank with the pistol valve installed. More air to work with.

    Next, how about an 18″ Talon barrel , if it will fit without any parts changes.

    Things could get funny though…..
    When I switched from the 18″ .22 barrel on my Talondor to the 24″ .22 barrel, I lost half of my shot count (no adjustments were made to fill or PW setting). I sure got velocity though.
    I switched back to the 18″.

    twotalon


    • Things could get funny though…..
      When I switched from the 18″ .22 barrel on my Talondor to the 24″ .22 barrel, I lost half of my shot count (no adjustments were made to fill or PW setting). I sure got velocity though.
      I switched back to the 18″.

      Seems reasonable, if back-pressure in the bore helps hold the valve open, then the longer barrel will hold pressure for a longer period of time. I’d think maybe a third more air used (not 50% more as the pellet should traverse the last 6″ faster than then previous 6″) but could be wrong.


  4. I am happy to see that Pyramyd Air is finally getting with the times, and now features a ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ heading on the home page. This will greatly simplify shopping for me.

    May I suggest the Sam Yang Dragon Claw be added? The version with dual air reservoirs of course. Don’t forget, head shots only!



      • Edith

        Airsoft? My research has shown that even hopped up airsoft guns will do little to deter the undead. Zombies don’t even have the presence of mind to be annoyed by them. However, spread enough airsoft pellets on the ground and even rotten feet will struggle to gain purchase. Perhaps J-F can elaborate on this. He is my go-to guy when it comes to Zombies.

        As long as you aren’t busy…. 😉 the “Who writes this blog?” link takes me nowhere. It goes without saying I know dang well who writes this blog, (and the lady behind the curtain who makes it all come together) however new visitors might want to know of BB’s pedigree so that they know weather to bow or curtsy.

        BTW: When did BB start using Fonzie to conduct airgun tests?


  5. Well, if those groups aren’t the very definition of screamers I don’t know what is.

    I’d be curious to know how many here have shot for group size at 50 yards with an airgun. I’ve done it enough to know that if I was the tester and writer here that this article would be filled with about 50 exclamation points. That 4 shot 0.159 group with JSB Kings is stunning. If you discount that low pellet strike in the 5 shot group of Benjamin Domes it looks similarly small. Miniscule. These two .25 caliber pellets are fairly new to the market and are shrinking group sizes in many guns. The JSB kings especially. Yraah (Harry in Australia) has shot these .25 caliber pellets and raves about accuracy. I’m seriously considering buying a .25 caliber airgun just because there are finally some accurate pellets to shoot in these guns.

    This is one of the best airgun articles I’ve read in awhile. Packed with information. I’m starting to build a healthy respect for that Hawke scope. Is everyone as amazed as me that these 50 yard groups were shot at a maximum magnification of 14x?

    Even after viewing the picture of how the gun is held I’m amazed at how B.B. can achieve consistent head placement. If it were me shooting this gun I would suspect some of the flyers were due to parallax. I’m anxious to hear about this option for mounting a scope on the Talon P that will improve the hold even more.

    B.B.,

    I’m forced to assume that the crates in the background are your gun purchases in the last two weeks. Shame that you haven’t had time to open them.

    kevin


    • Kevin,

      You understand! I felt like Sandy Kofax, drilling those pellets through the same hole every time. And then shot five broke my heart, but it also awakened me from my fantasy that I couldn’t miss. This JSB pellet is unbelievable.

      And so are those Benjamins! I thought they might come in a distant second, but they were just as good as the JSBs.

      Those boxes are but a few of the 20 or so that the Lother Walther barrels came in this year. AirForce is building so many guns that I think Lothar Walther has devoted an entire shift to them

      B.B.


      • B.B. Koufax,

        All of us as readers are very fortunate. Your long standing relationship with airgun powerhouses like Airforce and Crosman allow us to peek at new developments before the world is introduced to them. Airforce and Crosman seem to be listening to airgunners since they both continue to roll out new cutting edge products.

        I’m anxiously awaiting the new adjustable scope mount that Airforce/BKL has been working on.

        Hmmmmmm, boxes of lothar walther barrels you say. Sure. Okay. Once you break the news to Edith about your recent gun acquisitions that needed 20 crates for shipping I hope you’ll share with the rest of us.

        kevin


    • Kevin,

      Yes indeed, .159″ at 50 yards is a REAL screamer. But Pope is reputed to have shot a .200 group at 200 YARDS. With what? Ten or twenty bullets? Kinda puts it into perspective, eh?

      And this 4 shot group was part of a much larger group. Not to demean the accomplishment, rather to put it into perspective.


      • pcp4me,

        Apples vs. Avacados.

        In my opinion shooting airguns at 50 yards is more like shooting firearms at 300++ yards.

        Comparing groups shot out of a hand built H.M.Pope gun that was tweaked and shot by the maker to become an extension of himself to groups shot with a talon pistol outta the box by a new owner is a stretch to “put it in perspective” wouldn’t you agree?

        What airguns do you shoot at 50+ yards? I don’t want this to sound snotty. I’m really curious.

        kevin


        • Kevin,

          All my higher end airguns and many lower end have been shot for groups at 50 yards. Disco, Sumatra 2500 carbine, Titan GP, Beeman R9, Tech Force 59 and others which are gone now. Do not have a 50+ yard pistol nor will I in the near future. All mentioned shot extremely well on 5 or 10 shot groups. I don’t use 4 shot groups but I reckon over the years to have had 4 shots that good imbeded in a 10 shot group or two. Or maybe even a 5 shot group.

          I have never kept track of any of my groups other than to insure if it is a hunting gun it groups 5 or 10 smaller than a dime. That type of accuracy while not mind shattering is more than good enough for 50 yard squirrels. And rested I have shot an occasional real small 5 or 10 shot group at 50 yards or even further. But if it is not done consistently I am not a bit impressed.

          Sorry if I am hard to impress. If some one shoots a .159″ 10 shot group THAT is impressive. If they can do it over and over consistently THAT IS AMAZING! But 4 shots out of 10? Eh, you just got lucky in my view!

          So I’m a cynic. So I’m not easily impressed. Don’t take it personal.


  6. Edith,

    You could submit that Picture of Tom to PA’s Photo of the week and you’d surely win the $50, as he’s looking pretty slick there, maybe they won’t recognize him!! I won’t tell…

    ka



    • KA,

      Let me finish this test series for you, which I hope to do soon. I can’t wait to try the new stock/scope setup, and I will publish pictures of how it works. I think Kevin might be right — that with the new setup there will be significantly less parallax.

      B.B.


      • Pins and needles! I’d like to see the shoulder set up they came up with. I have expressed several times before my dislike of the high sights on their rifles. I would think they could have eliminated the carry handle site mounts for the pistol, but hey, if there’s a good fix….

        ka


  7. Here is an excerpt from your April 18, 2011 Blog (2011 Malvern airgun show ):

    /blog/2011/04/2011-malvern-airgun-show/#comments

    “…But the big deal that I saw at this show was a new [AirForce] air tank that has both a manometer (pressure gauge) and a male foster fill nipple, allowing fills without removing the tank. There’s a new type of tank bushing in the gun that the new tank screws into and the factory will retrofit that bushing to all older models. So everybody gets to use the new-style tank…”

    Any idea when AirForce might be releasing these new tanks?

    Thanks.


    • AirForcer,

      I know they are working on this and many other new projects. Their shop is a beehive of activity right now and I imagine we can expect to start seeing some of the fruit in 2012. It’s a good time to be an airgunner!

      B.B.


  8. Hi BB
    Your article about velocity vs accuracy also got me thinking about the debate regarding 177 vs 22 calibre pellets and I think you (American) guys are wrong about your obsession to use 22 rather than 177 pellets, especially for hunting. When hunting small (or any other) game you need the highest possible energy, not at the muzzle, but 50 m further, where the prey is. You then need to transfer this energy to the target in order to cause the most possible damage to kill the prey. Energy is determined by weight (mass), but even more so by velocity (E=0.5mvsq). This means that the velocity needs to be maintained as much as possible in order to maintain energy. Velocity-loss is caused by air resistance (drag), which in turn is determined by frontal area X drag coefficient (A x Cd). Twenty two calibre pellets have a frontal area of 23.75 mm square, which is 49% more than the 15.90 mm square of 177 calibre pellets. This means that the 177 will lose significantly less velocity (and thus energy) as it is travelling through the air towards the target. The only problem is that the smaller frontal area means that energy will not be transferred to the target as efficiently, but this problem can be overcome by designing pellets that will mushroom on impact. The mass of the 177 pellets can be increased to match that of the 22 calibre pellets by increasing the length of the pellets.

    BB, I would love to hear your comments on this argument.

    Regards.
    Vasco


    • Vasco,

      I have seen the results of hunting with a .177, and that’s why I recommend a .22. You know, years ago the high-velocity crowd said the same things about the slow-moving big-bore bullets used for buffalo rifles. Only it didn’t work the way they figured. Where a light bullet will either blow up of over-penetrate; a large slow-moving bullet kills.

      I am aware that the .22 is illegal in many countries, and there hunters can only use the .177. But if there is a choice, I will always take the .22 over the .177 for hunting.

      B.B.


      • BB
        I am not talking about high velocity pellets in my 177 rifle, but rather heavier pellets (15 to 17 grain) to match the weight of 22 calibre pellets. Why don’t you do a test to see how much velocity the different calibre (with similar weights) pellets lose over a distance of 50 m or so. I think it’ll be very interesting.
        Regards.
        Vasco.


    • Putting a longer .177 pellet in will have very different ballistic coefficients, require whole new rifling twist rates, and probably a much higher sectional density. The last likely resulting in the pellet passing through the target. If the pellet design adds more surface bearing on the rifling, it will also mean more friction, and slower velocities than the same mass from a .22 using the same power-plant.

      Read some of the studies on why it took forever for the US to accept a 9mm parabellum service pistol to replace the .45ACP (and I understand they may be looking for something larger now — ignoring the special forces which pretty much carry whatever they want). Short summary — 9mm tended to over-penetrate without producing one-shot stops. The .40S&W has sort of developed a reputation as being as controllable as a 9mm, but with the stopping ability of the .45ACP (one of the evaluations done by Massad Ayoob, back shortly after the .40S&W came out, reported that the bullet fully penetrated [missing the ribs] the villain, to stop against the villain’s t-shirt — ideal energy transfer).

      If you can compute a reasonable ballistic coefficient for this hypothethetical pellet, feel free to play with ChairGun Pro; It will build tables (and graphs) that you can compare with… Don’t forget to try with cross winds.


    • Vasco,

      I too have seen the results with a .177 rifle on game. I have to agree completely with BB. I still remember the first squirrel I ever shot with an air gun. It was a large fox squirrel at about 10 yards.

      At the time I was pretty young and totally uninformed about air guns. I was using a Beeman R9 .177 which chronoed at about 800 fps wih chps. The shot was directly broadside into the heart/lung area. It threw the squirrel about 10 feet off the log. It got up and ran about 50 feet to a tree with a hole and disappeared into it. There was an awesome blood trail to the tree.

      I moved about 10 yards from that hole so I had a clear view of the hole and after a couple of minutes called the squirrel out of the tree. Yes, you read it right. I called a wounded squirrel out of a tree . I know it was the same squirrel as it climbed on a nearby limb and was dripping blood on the ground about 1 drop per minute.

      My finishing shot went from underneath the squirrel into the brain. Instant dead. Lesson immediately learned. Shoot the dang critters in the head!

      After I got my first .22 I gave up completely using the .177 for hunting. A .22 chp moving at about 800 fps is a WAY better killer than a .177 chp moving at about 1050 fps!

      Not saying you can’t kill em with a .177, just that I wouldn’t if I had a good .22 and I have several.

      BB obviously has killed game with both and is absolutely correct about the .22 being far better.


  9. B.B.

    Is there any kind of sleeve or padding to protect your cheek in cold weather? Today we had first below zero day and _cold_ steel problem appeared before me in all its frosty glory.

    duskwight


    • duskwight,

      I know that AirForce is thinking about it, and the aftermarket crowd with no doubt beat them to the punch.

      AirForce is located in Fort Worth, Texas, where the temperature right now is 21 degrees C. And we all think it’s cold!

      B.B.


  10. I would be waking up all my airgun friends if I EVER get 4 pellets through the same hole at 50…….with the Whizzer! Let alone with a fair priced pistola from AF.I too will be testing the Benjamin’s in .25.
    Quite a few reviews have mentioned them,AND Kevin doesn’t give advice to have something to say.
    He gives advice because he has something valuable to share.Kinda like E.F. Hutton!


    • E. F. *Who*? The last time they spoke it was to declare bankruptcy. Or rather to allow itself to be bought for a song in a rescue bid. (December, 1987) We are showing our age.


      • OK,OK……you got me there Pete! I remember those inventive ad campaigns well though.One of the few clever commercials that gets a company stuck in your head.Plus,I have been buying scrap precious metals recently….and I just weighed a Tiffany Punch bowl in sterling silver that was a retirement gift to a man for 30 yrs. @ E.F.Hutton.He was apparently well thought of…..in 1970,the year he retired.



    • Herb,
      Some people say it doesn’t happen, but I notice different pellets are as likely to shoot left or right as they are high or low. I also notice that more velocity tends to push things to the right and less power pulls them to the left — I assume it is Coriolis effect (i.e., more a product of the spin than velocity by itself).



        • I’d agree that the left-right movement is an effect due to spinning. If you shot out of a good smooth-bore barrel you should see groups from different pellets move up and down due to weight and BC of pellet, but not right or left.


        • Nice site. I always like it when people recall the Flettner rotorship. A gloriously crazy idea that actually worked — even if not well since the delivered horsepower was smaller than with a screw, and it still needed wind.

          If it’s really true that some pellets curve right and others left (when shot from the same gun) then it is presumably a boundary layer effect as much as anything. Similar, perhaps, to hooks and slices in golf.


          • Pete,
            It made a comeback in the 70’s or 80’s, as I remember seeing either Popular Science or Popular Mechanics cover story about new sailing technology that would (as usual for things on the cover) revolutionize shipping in the future. It doesn’t take long to get cynical about the “future”, does it :)?


  11. BB,
    Perfect and wind-free day at the range? It looks like you are shooting inside a warehouse :)! The wind makes a big difference at 50 yards, but that is still good shooting from all involved.


  12. Hi BB,

    I have a request…. All of you PCP guys out there are making me itch to try one out. Along with all the other PCP’s suggested here, I was also thinking about the Walther 1250 Dominator in .22. I can’t seem to find any tests by you on it, so…. Can you get one and test it out for us? ( hate to make more work for you, or make Edith mad by getting you to buy more guns, but it’d be appreciated…. 😉 )

    Thanks,
    /Dave


    • Just go with a basic not too expensive setup and give the thing a try.
      I haven’t counted exactly but I’d say I’m pumping the thing around one time for each shot I take. The pump isn’t that hard if your over 200lbs just put your weight on it and let it go down but if I can find a dive shop that’s willing to fill my tank a tank fill up will definetly be in my future I may even go for a cascade set-up.
      Do it, do it, do it!!!
      But be advised it’s no different than the rest of airgunning stuff, you won’t be able to have just one…
      I think the Crosman 1701P will find a way home before an air tank does (a man has got to have his priorities straight).

      J-F


    • /Dave,

      The Walther 1250 Dominator was created out of the CO2 rifle they make, and that plus the styling put me off the gun. Also, the introductory price of over a thousand dollars was way out of line for what it is.

      Oh, and to me the kiss of death is the fact that Walther set up the gun to run on 300 bar air. That’s 4,350 psi. I can get that kind of air, but not many of my readers can. Sure, it will also work on 200 bar air, but you lose a LOT of shots.

      I just don’t see anything to recommend the gun.

      B.B.


      • BB,

        Agreed! Entry level the Disco is quite nice. Mid range the Eun Jin Sumatra carbine is very nice. High end? The sky’s the limit, but NOT a Dominator. If your going to pay THAT much, go with one of the FX semi autos.


      • Thanks, BB. I’ll agree, it’s ugly, but in kind of a handsome sort of way to me. PA lists the gun only for $599, which for a Walther is cheap… It is a co2 gun, a Hammerli 850, but I wondered if the barrel was made by Walther (not Lothar). Looks like I’d just be paying for the name if it’s mostly the same as a converted 850… I’ll knock it off my list, based on your info.

        Thanks,
        /Dave


  13. Edith I can’t access the pyramyd air mobile site from my phone 🙁 I tought it was a great idea but now it doesn’t seem to be working…
    I also love the small link for the comment section at the top of the new blog that brings you straight to it, no need to scroll down what I already read in the morning.

    J-F


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